Archive for July, 2008

Three Baptisms and an Amazing Painting

July 21, 2008

A little rushed on time so this is going to be kinda of a short email. The high point of the week was the three people that went in for baptism this Friday. The first two are named Uuganbayar and Otronbayar. Their older brother is a member of the church, his name is Batmunkh (his missionary was my MTC teacher Brother Cannon, so that was kinda cool. At first their mom and dad had no interest, but now the mom has a baptismal date and comes to church about every Sunday, and the dad comes in and sits on the lessons, so it’s all getting pretty cool. (The mom is the lady that made me the awesome shirt, too).

The next family is one of my favorites. The mom, Dolgormaa and the son, Batsuren, were baptized almost 3 years ago but the father never became a church member. He was always in the county working and the missionaries could never keep track of him. His wife said it was also a little hard for him because he’s kind of a shy guy and by the time he got used to one set of elders they left. I’ve been working with him since I got to Enkhtaivan and I think his family is now some of my favorite people. I love being around them. The other cool thing was that his son was the one who got to baptize him. I was really happy to be apart of helping, and it’s going to be neat watching their 7 year old daughter grow up with both her parents as members of the church. The way the father put it was “I never have to worry about my son running around at night, fighting or getting into other trouble, and now they don’t have to worry about me.”

And then, I had an investigator give me a print of one of his paintings, he’s freaking amazing.

Time’s up!

Naadam

July 15, 2008

So, the biggest news of the week is probably Naadam. As the quick explanation, Naadam is the national festival celebrating the founding of Mongolia some 800 years ago and was started at the more recent freeing from the Chinese in the 1920’s (I think). The major section of Naadam is marked by Mongolia’s “national sports” of wrestling, archery and horse racing.

It was pretty sweet. Almost the whole mission went to the opening and most of us went way out into the country to watch the horse races.

It was so pretty out there. Away from UB everything is still green and clean. Lots of white people again. It’s still weird. We were about the only foreign people talking to Mongolians in Mongolian. But once we got away from the more touristy part and just started going around and going to people’s houses it was way sweet. Our branch president invited us over and we just traded dumb humor, photos, etc. It’ cool to finally be at the point were I can act like myself in this language without having to think too much. I’m going to be kind of sad when I leave Enkhtaivan, it’s the first place were I’ve been able to do enough to help out at all, and most everyone I know is here now.

And speaking of! Some of my peeps from Sukbaatar are going to America! That’s nuts! Sister Tsenglee is going to Arizona and Elder Odgerel is going to California. They’re some of the first people I ever got to know very well is Mongolia. They went with us all the time during the winter and I learned most of what I know (especially the funny stuff) from them. So if any of them wind up in your ward say “hey”.

Tegeed, my investigator made me this awesome Mongolian shirt that goes sick wit’ ma deel, yo. She tried to get away before I paid but even after I haggled the snot out of her she would only take 15 dollars, a shirt like this would usually be like 30-40 bucks. She said it was because of all the service we had been doing at her house, but then we pointed out that it wouldn’t be service if she paid it for us.

And then I lost my keys at Naadam and my companion left his on the table when we went to try to find a spare copy because he thought I had mine. We spent two days sleeping on the district leader’s couch. It’s not a nice couch at all. It turns out they had to switch the locks anyways so we did that this morning.

In other exiting news, three people are getting baptized this week. The coolest one is a man named Tsengel. His wife and son have been members for a few years, and his son is actually on his mission right now. He was interested for the longest time and since the start of this year he’s gotten really good, his wife is amazed sometimes, and his son gets to baptize him this Friday, so we’re all working to keep thing going.

I think that’s about that. Oh, and all the letters I tried to send got messed up and bounced or something. That sucked, going to try again next p-day.

A Map with Tags!

July 11, 2008

I finally found a map of Ulaanbaatar with enough detail to see what is going on.

My Team Won at Tug of War

July 7, 2008

Yeah, it was nuts. 3 buildings got burned, lots of cars, and the entire city’s police force has wounds of one sort or another. I was standing next to that building a little before it started, but I had run into some street promoters trying to get as many people as they could to go down there, so I decided to change my plans and go back to the other half of the city early.

“Lock down” sucked. Got my ceiling kind of dirty from all the times I threw my basketball at it . . . Started making a missionary teaching dictionary and stupid word collection . . . Got to around 1500 for the first and second lesson before I got bored . . . Ordered pizza . . . Slept . . . Cleaned my closet . . . Slept . . . Wrote letters to new members . . . Fell asleep on the letters.

Then they had a 4h of July party on the 5th. That was kind of weird, but everyone was happy to be out of the house. It was about 100 other Americans and then an even split of about 60 Mongolian and American elders. It was weird seeing white people. They had a rope pulling contest. There were 8 teams. The 2 missionary teams trashed everyone, and then my team trashed the other missionary team. Our team was also the only one with Mongolian members, and most of the missionaries got a tickle out of the irony. Another random thought, the party took place at “Star Apartments”. The star has 10 foot concrete walls and security every few feet. You go in from the sun dried dirt of an old Russian city to treated lawns and mulched gardens and ponds. I already felt unnatural at places like this, and now it’s just creepy.

But most importantly, my team won at tug of war. Well, the general safety of everyone I know personally during the riots trumps that, but on my list of trivial things the tug of war is right at the top.

Official Word on Riots

July 2, 2008

From the mission president: You maybe aware from news reports that an election related riots occurred in Mongolia’s capital city yesterday. There have been no serious incidents involving our missionaries. All of our missionaries are safely in their apartments. They will remain there until the situation has returned to normal. We will continue to monitor the events closely. The primary priority will be the safety of our missionaries.

From mom: Now this definitely put the rest of my “problems” in perspective!